A house erected on the land where mass murderer John Wayne Gacy once killed 33 people has hit the market for $459,000, but interested buyers may never know about its sordid history thanks to an Illinois law that allows owners to decide for themselves whether to disclose such gritty details.
The innocuous-looking property is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom brick house in the Chicago suburb of Norwood Park Township. As first reported by TMZ, it sits on a plot of land that’s just under 9,000 square feet. But despite its simple appearance, the lot is where, in 1978, the Illinois police discovered 29 dead bodies in the home’s trenches and crawl space.
Gacy, who was convicted of mass murder in 1980 and executed in 1994, had killed dozens of teenage boys at his house between 1972 and 1978. He dumped the other four bodies off nearby bridges. Gacy would later earn the name “The Killer Clown” because he would dress up as a clown and lure children from various fund-raising events and parties
Although the original home was bulldozed shortly after the discovery, a local woman bought the land for $30,544 and built a new property on it in 1986, at which point its address was changed from 8213 W. Summerdale Ave. to 8215 W. Summerdale Ave. For the first few years after Gacy’s arrest, the spot attracted its fair share of gawkers. But with the passage of time, many may not necessarily have been aware of what occurred on the spot forty years ago.
Robert Picciariello of Prello Realty is the agent representing the seller. Disclosure laws vary from state to state, but in Illinois, owners are not required to disclose deaths and other grisly details that occurred during a property’s history, although they cannot lie or cover them up if potential buyers ask.
Some properties are more difficult to keep secret than others — sites of famous murders like the Phil Spector property are generally on the news and hard to cover up. That said, being upfront about a property is generally a good idea regardless of an individual state’s disclosure laws as it can help avoid bitterness and hard feelings on the part of the buyer later on.
“Often out of professional courtesy and in good faith, many agents may simply choose to disclose any crime-related information upfront,” New York agent Albert Anderson wrote for Inman earlier this year.